What is Equine Facilitated Learning?
Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), also known as Equine Assisted Coaching, is an experiential learning approach which promotes the development of life skills. This focus on life skills can be related to academic achievement, behaviour, personal growth or professional leadership development. EFL sessions focus on the here and now, helping clients to increase self-awareness, develop new skills and operate in the moment, rather than processing past trauma. There is no psychotherapy or counselling involved.
What should I look for in an EFL professional?
All EFL professionals should be certified by a recognised professional body and adequately insured. They need training to work safely with horses and skill in experiential learning methods and in facilitation. They should offer emotionally and physically safe, life skill directed sessions for their clients. They should work as part of a team of professionals; one person who is the equine specialist and one who is the human specialist along with the horse who is also a valued member of the team. Each member of the team should have the necessary skills to work with the type of individual or group in the session. If you are not sure whether or not the professional is qualified, ask them what their credentials are and research their governing organisations to see what standards they follow. Any practitioner who is certified by WITH will be listed on our online register of practitioners.
What does an EFL session look like?
Most EFL sessions are done on an individual basis unless working with groups who have a prior relationship to one another. Each session involves horse interaction facilitated by the professional or professional team. Though there is always a lesson plan, a good facilitator will often follows the horse’s lead. The activities are problem solving, relationship building or observation-based. Though students can learn horsemanship skills through the sessions, it is usually not the primary goal. Most goals are focused on the development of life skills. Sessions take place on the ground. There is no riding involved.